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« Sidney Hook on Academic Freedom | Main | More on how blogging can be hazardous to your employment »

February 11, 2005



DISCLAIMER: I do not condone Churchill's views or statements.

That said, if his views which many have characterized as extreme encouraged others to talk about the issues involved, then academic freedom has served its purpose and shown its value.

even if Churchill "doesn't get it" as you say, he is entitled to speak his mind and perhaps that will help the rest of us "get" to the right answer.

Tung Yin

if his views which many have characterized as extreme encouraged others to talk about the issues involved, then academic freedom has served its purpose and shown its value.

Sure. But I'm not sure he's actually succeeded in getting people to talk about the issues (i.e., our foreign policy) so much as getting people to talk about the nature of academic freedom itself. Even Churchill's supporters, such as my co-blogger, have quickly distanced themselves from his statement. And as I argued earlier, I have a hard time seeing how Churchill's statement would actually do anything other than lead most to reject his thesis out of hand.


Without responding to the "merits" of his response... Churchill's latest statements fit confortably within "academic freedom." Most of us might not agree with his comments, but they do not warrant his being fired. And I suspect that had Mr. Churchill made those points instead of his "little Eichmanns" comment, few would have been after his head.

To that is a testament to academic freedom. Most of us tolerate debate on ver controversial topics, but when you utter fighting words, don't cry when people fight back.

An example I thought of is this: A professor might argue that obesity is bad for society. That comment should be protected under academic freedom, even if fat people get offended by it. If, however, that professor said, "Mike, your mom is a fat pig who should die of a heart attack," then he should not be protected under academic freedom.

There is a pretty clear difference between rational discussion and personal attacks. In this latest example, Mr. Churchill engages in rational discourse.


Churchill Admits He's Not Native American and attacks essay’s critics



Can you say "copyright infringement"?


I knew you could. Maybe Kevin can represent ol' Forked Tongue in the sure-to-be-filed infringement suit...

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